Bacterial infection can negatively affect different parts of the male genital tract and subsequently cause impaired spermatogenesis and male fertility. However, most of the previous studies have focused on the infected organs of the male genital tract and there are not many studies that investigated the direct effect of bacteria on sperm and their mechanism of action. Interestingly, bacteria can induce different damages on sperm cells such as DNA fragmentation, cell membrane peroxidation, and acrosome impairment. Such negative effects can be mediated by bacteria-secreted toxins and metabolites or by direct attachment of bacteria on the sperm cells and subsequent activation of signaling pathways related to oxidative stress, apoptosis, and inflammation. These bacteria-induced changes can impair semen parameters and subsequently cause infertility. Given the significant destructive effect of some bacteria on sperm function and male fertility, in this study, we reviewed the impact of male urogenital bacteria on spermatogenesis and sperm functions as well as the underlying mechanisms by which the bacteria can damage sperm.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.